The beach and the sea may be my playground but I always felt more at home in the mountains. The nippy air, being among trees and soothing greens is a balm to the senses. Upon learning that in my return to Antique, just barely after a month from my last visit, I would have a chance to visit one of the highlands in Panay Island. On the first night of our Antique Heritage tour, we’ll be located at 869 meters above sea level at Aningalan, San Remegios, south of Antique bordering close to Iloilo. It’s where clouds roll along hills, dramatic rock formations jutting out the cascading landscape and a glassy lake are found.
Carles in Northern Iloilo is steadily getting a good stream of tourist nowadays. The municipality, once ravaged by Typhoon Haiyan is now a popular jump-off point for Isla de Gigantes island hopping exploration. If not staying on the islands, Carles is the best area to stay. Coming from the earliest flight from Manila to Iloilo and a 3-4 hours road travel to Carles, I finally made it to my home base for two nights, The New Beach Head Resort. It’s easy to downplay the resort for having only a 1-star rating in booking sites. It is also considered as the “2nd best resort” in the Carles. But it honestly didn’t feel 1-star at all! It felt more than 3-star in terms of comfort and neatness. Not to mention, a beach area where beautiful sunsets abound.
I love water parks. It brings out the kids in all of us. Especially me who enjoys water. I just can’t resist towering and colorful slides and cooling down at pools. With this stifling summer heat, I’m glad there’s a new water park just a couple of hours from Manila. Aqua Planet in Clark Freeport Zone Pampanga is the largest water park in the country and one of the biggest in Asia. A 10-hectare all-in entertainment destination with 38 slides and attractions, 8 shops and dining options and top notch amenities suited for friends and families of all ages all year round.
Tanay is becoming a hiking haven near Manila with several climbing destinations in close proximity with each other. One destination which has fascinated me for a time is the unique looking limestone platform of Nagpatong Rock at Barangay Cuyambay. When I got an invite for a day climb, I quickly jumped-in. Not only to satisfy my curiosity of the place but to support a cause. I joined United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and their ambassador Atom Araullo in climbing Nagpatong rock to spread awareness on their campaign “2 Billion Kilometers to Safety”.
Hearing the word apsaras readily reminded me of the elegant female figures carved at the Khmer temples in Cambodia. Generally, apsaras are celestial maidens represented in different interpretations depending of the places. As for Apsaras Tribe Siargao, this is the newest seaside hotel in the surfing capital of the country. An appealing container-type style accommodation with direct view of the Pacific Seas.
It took Typhoon Yolanda’s devastation to bring this beautiful archipelago in Northern Iloilo to light. Carles, Northern Iloilo was one of the hard hit areas. Rescue aids and volunteers went out of their way to find remote communities that needed assistance. Their perseverance paid off as they found these communities. At the same time, they also found the islands of Isla de Gigantes. An enchanting set of islands that was once solely enjoyed by the locals. Gradually, photos of the stunning white beach and captivating rock formations became viral online. Isla de Gigantes name came big. Every body wants to experience this piece of paradise and that includes me.
If you’ve ever wondered how the shapes of the islands, the elevation of peaks, the depths of seas are measured and translated into easy readable maps that common people can understand, it’s all about the science of geodesy and datums. Even before Google Maps ever existed, surveyors and scientist uses datums or geodetic reference points to collectively gather information on the lay of the land and sea in longitude and latitudes. That is why I had much appreciation to finally visit the Luzon Datum of 1911 site in Marinduque . A pivotal refernce point used to triangulate networks of different datums in the country. It is, literally the center of the Philippines in a geodetic sense.